April 18, 2013
IATEFL Liverpool - It's all about people
I was planning to write blog posts while attending the IATEFL conference but I'm glad to say I HAD NO TIME for sitting down on my own to write a blog post; so many people to meet, to talk to and to learn from. Face 2 face interactions definitely won over the magic of blogging.
Well, people who also follow me on Facebook and Twitter know that the beginning of the journey was not as smooth as I thought it would be (check my furious tweet).
After getting to Liverpool one day after I had expected, the days went by very quickly. There were lots of sessions to choose from but I decided to follow a tip given by someone from the IATEFL committee: to focus on one of the Special Interest Groups. Therefore, most of the sessions I attended were related to Learning Technologies.
Now, it's funny that lots of people say the virtual environment is cold and the relationships which take place online are superficial. However, as this group is always in contact via twitter, facebook and blogs, I dare say it's one of the warmest groups EVER.
During these days in Liverpool, I had the wonderful privilege to meet so many e-friends I had never met f2f and others I've met only a few times.
I shared a room with a wonderful friend from Recife, Roseli Serra, who I met online last year during an online course but have kept in contact ever since. The first session I had the pleasure to attend was Vicky Saumell's. I first met Vicky f2f two years ago in Buenos Aires and loved giving her a hug before and after her wonderful presentation on E-publishing in the classroom. Getting to know Michelle Schwertner, another award winner, was also a pleasant surprise. I met Michelle online via two common friends and we decided to meet in Liverpool. We laughed so much together! Meeting Carla Arena, my mentor and inspiration for many years, and being able to learn more from her was a precious gift. I also had the chance to meet for the first time some people with whom I've exchanged messages and tweets FOR YEARS, such as Joe Dale, Nik Peachey, Burcu Ayol, Beyza Yilmaz, Marisa Constantinides.
The learning surpassed the room walls and whenever we got together there was some kind of sharing taking place, "there's this app......", right, Joe Dale? Another informal learning moment was the APP SWAP proposed by Carla Arena where each one shared interesting apps and explained about it. The app sharing can also be followed at the todaysmeet page below.
Networking made the IATEFL experience rich in learning and warm in connections.
Plans for the future? I've heard it through the grapevine that we could have a LT (Learning Technology) event in Brazil this year. Graham Stanley, I'm crossing my fingers about this one.